Concert: Family Holiday
Beloved animated film The Snowman and holiday favorites, with popular kid-friendly activities in the lobby. Guest artists are talented youth from around the Cedar Valley!
The Snowman film live with orchestra
Concerto movement with wcfsymphony’s Young Artist Competition winner
Traditional holiday music with the UNI Children’s Choir
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs by arrangement with © Snowman Enterprises Ltd 1982, 2012
We hope you enjoy our personal approach to program notes: insights from Jason into how and why pieces were selected, followed by notes and quotes from composers and artists about their work.
Introduction from Jason: The Snowman is a 26-minute animated film based on Raymond Briggs’ classic children’s book of the same name. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award on 1982 and has since become a Christmas classic enchanting new generations year after year, particularly in England where the film was made. We are thrilled to perform Howard Blake’s beautiful score live with the film, continuing our ongoing series of movies with live music. Blake’s words about the genesis of the film are below.
We are also very thankful this year to be able partner with an array of gifted musical youth, including the UNI Children’s Choir and the winner of our own Young Artist Concerto Competition. We hope you are as inspired by their talent as we are!
Composer Howard Blake on The Snowman: I always go right back to the vision I had as a student of this possibility of music and image working together. As one could see in Russian films (Prokofiev and Eisenstein). And certain key films of other countries. There’s a marvelous mixture if you get it right. You really have to make the film yourself in order to do that, and I don’t have that capacity. So I got into writing every other sort of film. As I found with feature films, they’re really basically acting vehicles. All my life I was looking for a way of getting rid of the dialogue, of just working with images absolutely tied together with music.
I happened by chance to go into an animation studio in Charlotte Street, in 1981, and the producer there said ‘I’ve just done this little sketch for a film called The Snowman, would you like to see it?’ And he showed me this pencil sketch and I thought, ‘This is it! We can do this with no dialogue.’ I said, ‘I can do this and I can make every action so riveting because I will tie in the music to it and you won’t need a single word.’ He said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ and I said, ‘Would you let me do a demo?’ and he said, ‘OK’. I did 8 minutes and the producer took it to Jeremy Isaacs next door (Channel Four had just opened and Jeremy was the Director of it). He said, ‘That’s a brilliant idea’. I was able then to develop my idea and make a complete score developed from the song, so that it all worked like a symphonic piece. It’s a half hour symphony.
I think [Snowman is so popular] because it’s neither pop nor classical. It’s both. It has its roots in popular culture. The whole idea is about transcending, it’s about love and opening the world of imagination and it appeals to many different people on many different levels. People love to hear the tune because it makes them feel warm. At the stage show they cheer and they cry when the snowman melts. It unlocks something in people which makes them feel better.